India raises concern over Sri Lankan Tamil issue in UN

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India said its consistent view on peace and reconciliation in the neighbouring island nation has been for a political settlement within the framework of an United Sri Lanka, ensuring justice, peace, equality and dignity for the Tamils living there…reports Asian Lite News

India on Monday issued a statement on promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka and noted with concern the lack of measurable progress by the government on their commitment of political solutions to the Tamil issue.

Speaking at the interactive dialogue on the report of OHCHR at the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, the Indian delegation said: “India has always believed in the responsibility of States for promotion and protection of human rights and constructive international dialogue and cooperation guided by the principles of the UN Charter.”

“In this regard, the Indian delegation notes with concern the lack of measurable progress by the government of Sri Lanka on their commitments of a political solution to the ethnic issue- through full implementation of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, delegation of powers to Provincial Councils and holding of Provincial Council elections at the earliest,” it added.

India said its consistent view on peace and reconciliation in the neighbouring island nation has been for a political settlement within the framework of an United Sri Lanka, ensuring justice, peace, equality and dignity for the Tamils living there.

“The current crisis in Sri Lanka has demonstrated the limitations of debt driven economy and the impact it has on the standard of living. It is in Sri Lanka’s best interests to build capacity of its citizens and work towards their empowerment, for which devolution of power to the grassroots level is a pre-requisite,” the statement read.

“In this connection, operationalization of Provincial Councils through early conduct of elections will enable all citizens of Sri Lanka to achieve their aspirations for a prosperous future,” the statement read further.

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China keeps mum on loans

Sri Lanka has reached an agreement with the International Monetary Funds (IMF) regarding debt restructuring which will start only after all Sri Lankan creditors agree to restructure their existing loans to the island nation. On the other hand, while China keeps mum over the issue, IMF bailout discussions still remain at the staff level of agreement.

All Sri Lankan creditors including China have to agree to restructure their existing loans to the island nation before the IMF starts disbursing a USD 2.9 billion loan, but China’s silence on the issue and IMF bailout discussions still remain at the staff level of agreement, Colombo Gazette reported.

Sri Lanka has agreed to a USD 2.9 billion deal with IMF officials, but cash will not flow to Colombo until significant progress is made on debt restructuring with China, Japan and India mainly.

The IMF staff and the Sri Lankan authorities have reached a staff-level agreement to support Sri Lanka’s economic policies with a 48-month arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) of about USD 2.9 billion.

The new EFF arrangement will support Sri Lanka’s program to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability, while safeguarding financial stability, reducing corruption vulnerabilities and unlocking Sri Lanka’s growth potential.

One of the conditions was also to reduce corruption vulnerabilities through improving fiscal transparency and public financial management, introducing a stronger anti-corruption legal framework, and conducting an in-depth governance diagnostic, supported by IMF technical assistance, Colombo Gazette reported.

At a recent press conference with IMF officials in Colombo on September 1, the question of what would happen if China refused to commit to debt restructuring was raised, to which the IMF mission head replied, “If one or more creditors are unwilling to provide these assurances, that would obviously aggravate the problem here in Sri Lanka and undermine repayment capacity.”

China has so far not agreed to debt restructuring which could include haircuts or reductions in interest rates. Instead, China has expressed its willingness to refinance Sri Lanka to repay its past loans without any changes, said Lankan officials.

Beijing said as a traditional friendly neighbour of Sri Lanka and a major shareholder of the International Monetary Fund, China has been always encouraging the IMF and other international financial institutions to continue to play a positive role in supporting Sri Lanka’s response to current difficulties and efforts to ease debt burden and realize sustainable development.

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